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From the Iranian hostage crisis through the Gulf War and the bombing of the world trade center, the American news media have portrayed "Islam" as a monolithic entity, synonymous with terrorism and religious hysteria. At the same time, Islamic states have used "Islam" to justify repressive and unrepresentative regimes. In this classic work, now updated and prefaced by a new Introduction, Edward Said reveals the hidden agendas and distortions of fact that underlie even the most "objective" coverage of the Islamic world. Covering Islam is a book of impressive learning and bracing iconoclasm that, like all of Said's work, enables us to see how language shapes political reality.
"Said shows that the American press has invented a fiction for itself called 'Islam,' something like the American picture of 'Communism' in the 1950s.... Said's analysis is cool and persuasive. He is no apologist for anyone. This is an important book.... Covering Islam should be read by every foreign correspondent and every editor of foreign news."--Frances FitzGerald, author of Fire in the Lake